2020 Lincoln Nautilus vs. 2020 Ford Explorer

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the Nautilus and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all-wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

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The Nautilus comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Nautilus 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Explorer. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Explorer ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Nautilus third among midsize premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Explorer isn’t in the top three in its category.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Nautilus AWD V6 gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer Platinum 4WD 3.0 twin-turbo V6 (365 HP) (19 city/26 hwy vs. 18 city/24 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lincoln Nautilus uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The Explorer ST requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Tires and Wheels

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The Nautilus’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Explorer’s standard 65 series tires. The Nautilus’ optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Nautilus offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Explorer’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

Chassis

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The Lincoln Nautilus may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 450 pounds less than the Ford Explorer.

The Nautilus is 8.8 inches shorter than the Explorer, making the Nautilus easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The Nautilus has a much larger cargo volume than the Explorer with its rear seat up (37.2 vs. 18.2 cubic feet).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Nautilus easier. The Nautilus’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 30 inches, while the Explorer’s liftover is 31.1 inches.

Towing

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The Nautilus 2.7 Turbo can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Nautilus can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Explorer can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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The Nautilus uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Explorer uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 54% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.

Ergonomics

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The Nautilus’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Explorer’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/12/06

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lincoln Nautilus, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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